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Quotes For Pastors

From "The Reformed Pastor" by Richard Baxter (1656)


Richard Baxter (1615-91) was vicar of Kidderminster from 1647 to 1661. His ministry transformed the people of Kidderminster from 'an ignorant, rude and reveling people' to a godly, worshipping community. "The Reformed Pastor" first prepared for a Worcestershire association of pastors in 1656, deals with the means by which such changes are ever to be accomplished. In the words of Thomas Manton, his contemporary Baxter 'came nearer to the apostolic writings than any man in the age'.

About reminding people of promises they made to God when they were ill:

A bishop of Cologne is said to have answered the Emperor Sigismund, when he asked him what was the way to be saved, "He must be what he purposed, or promised to be, when he was last troubled with the stone and the gout."

Regarding knowledge...

A quote of Bernard is commonly known: 'Some desire to know merely for the sake of knowing, and that is shameful curiosity. Some desire to know that they may sell their knowledge , and that too is shameful. Some desire to know for reputation's sake, and that is shameful vanity. But there are some who desire to know that they may edify others, and that is praiseworthy; and there are some who desire to know that they themselves may be edified and that is wise.'

Regarding church discipline:

Seneca could say, 'He who excuses present evils transmits them to posterity.'

About the huge amount of work that pastor's face:

Therefore, I must rather do what I can, than leave all undone because I cannot do all.

About diligence in ministry:

Ever think with yourselves what lieth upon your hands: 'If I do not bestir myself, Satan may prevail, and the people everlastingly perish, and their blood be required at my hand. By avoiding labor and suffering, I shall draw on myself a thousand times more than I avoid; whereas , by present diligence, I shall prepare for future blessedness.' No man was ever a loser by God.

About priorities in teaching and preaching:

Throughout the whole course of our ministry, we must insist chiefly upon the greatest, most certain, and most necessary truths, and be more seldom and sparing upon the rest. If we can but teach Christ to our people, we shall teach them all...

... I confess I think NECESSITY should be the great disposer of a minister's course of study and labor. If we were sufficient for everything, we might attempt everything, and take in order the whole Encyclopedia: but life is short, and we are dull, and eternal things are necessary, and the souls that depend on our teaching are precious. I confess necessity hath been the conductor of my studies and my life. It chooseth what book I shall read, and tells me when, and how long. It chooseth my text, and makes my sermon, both for matter and manner, so far as I can keep out my own corruption...

... The great volumes and tedious controversies that so much trouble us and waste our time, are usually made up more of opinions than necessary verities; for, as Finicus saith, 'Necessity is shut up within narrow limits; not so with opinion': and, as Gregory Nazianzen and Seneca often say, "Necessaries are common and obvious; it is superfluities that we waste our time for, and labor for, and complain that we attain them not."


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